Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

Mobile, Sprint Abandon Mega-Merger Talks

T-Mobile US CEO John Legere and his executive team announce Un Carrier 12.0 from the company's Bellevue T-Mobile US CEO John Legere and his executive team announce Un Carrier 12.0 from the company's Bellevue
Lori Graves | 05 November, 2017, 02:06

In a joint statement, the third- (T-Mobile) and fourth-largest (Sprint) wireless carriers in the US explained that they were unable to agree on the terms of a deal.

But Sprint stock stumbled Monday after a news report that its parent company, the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, called off talks with T-Mobile about the possible merger. Nonetheless, Claure said that "we have agreed that it is best to move forward on our own".

Investors had cheered on a combination of T-Mobile, the third-largest US wireless carrier, with No. 4 Sprint as a way to cut costs and forge a bigger competitor to take on AT&T (T) and Verizon Communications (VZ). Consumers are paying less for cellphone service, thanks to T-Mobile's influence on the industry and the resultant price wars.

With merger talk officially through, that means T-Mobile and Sprint will have to revisit their position in a marketplace where Verizon and AT&T dwarf their wireless subscriber totals.

The two companies came close to announcing a merger in 2014 but called it off at the last minute due to regulatory concerns.

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"These two are going to find compelling reasons to explore a combination again at some point", said Kevin Roe, an analyst at Roe Equity Research. Claure, the Sprint CEO, is also a member of SoftBank's board.

Deutsche Telekom, based in Bonn, Germany, has maintained throughout the talks this year with SoftBank that it should end up with control of the combined company.

A few weeks later, Legere said he was open to "various forms of consolidation" when asked about a potential merger with Sprint and SoftBank under the Trump administration.

T-Mobile USA and Sprint today finally gave a definitive answer about whether they will merge. The tone of the release suggests T-Mobile and Sprint are still on pleasant enough terms, so it's not unthinkable to imagine the two to partnering in some capacity in the future.

Son met with Trump the month before he took office to talk up an investment in US businesses. SoftBank's Son has considered measures like a spinoff of Sprint's airwaves to help extract some of that value. "We won't stop now".

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